Press Release

CGS Calls for Action to End Racism and Injustice

Issued: 06-03-20


Dear Colleagues,

Recent days and weeks have brought us heart-wrenching reminders of race-based inequality and injustice. In addition to COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on students of color and their families, we have witnessed appalling acts of racism and violence toward African Americans—most recently George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade—acts that cause further distress and fear among communities already suffering.

The CGS Board of Directors condemns both the deeply embedded and structural forms of racism and injustice we see around us as well as their most immediate manifestations. We also stand in solidarity with people of color in our community as they confront painful examples of violence and injustice.

We also acknowledge that words are not enough.  As an organization, we affirm our commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion at all levels of graduate education. We will continue working with our members to make programs more diverse and accessible, to promote diversity as a principle that supports the learning of all students, to deepen our understanding of inclusive mentoring practices, and to provide inclusive and accessible student support services.

Of equal importance, we commit to helping our students develop the conceptual frameworks and analytic methods necessary to understand social and economic forms of injustice, in all their manifestations.  We also commit to helping them develop the leadership skills necessary to begin building a better, more just society.  To paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi, we must create graduate programs and institutional cultures that prepare students to be the change this world so desperately needs.

If you have suggestions for how CGS can better support this work, please contact

In solidarity with you, your staff, and your students,

Suzanne T. Ortega
Council of Graduate Schools

Sally Pratt
Chair, CGS Board of Directors (2020)
Vice Provost for Graduate Programs University of Southern California
on behalf of the CGS Board of Directors